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‘Ankara shows no willingness to resume settlement talks’

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides

The objective of Turkish provocation is to create problems to Cyprus’  energy programme and to the EU’s effort to make the Eastern Mediterranean an alternative energy corridor for Europe, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides has said.

In an interview with the Athens News Agency, published on Sunday, Christodoulides said that Ankara’s conduct proves that it has no willingness to resume the settlement talks. At the same time, Christodoulides reiterated the readiness of the Greek Cypriot side to enter into dialogue.

“President (Nicos) Anastasiades made it clear to the UN Secretary-General that if Turkey’s unlawful actions were lifted as well as any unacceptable claims on the part of the Turkish Cypriots, he is ready to promptly enter into dialogue on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem and to participate in a new conference on Cyprus, provided that it has been properly prepared and that the five permanent members of the Security Council and the EU will be actively involved,” Christodoulides said.

He added however, that if Turkey steps up provocations, the RoC will not be dragged into approaches that will lead away from the objective of reunifying Cyprus.

Turkey’s recent actions in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ), he said, confirm the correctness of the Nicosia-Athens approach on the necessity to respect the sovereignty and independence of Cyprus, to end the Treaty of Guarantee, intervention rights and the permanent presence of an army in Cyprus.

“If Turkey is behaving in this way today, how would it behave if we accepted what it was calling for in relation to the issue of security and guarantees?” he asked.

On the filing by the RoC of the geographic coordinates of delimitation of its EEZ with Turkey, Christodoulides said that once the political decision on such action is taken, the government will issue a public announcement “if we of course consider that this serves the interests of the Republic of Cyprus”.

On the state fund for the management of future hydrocarbon reserves and the participation of Turkish Cypriots, the minister referred to the convergence achieved by former President Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, which provides that the decisions concerning the maritime zones will be a federal competence in the reunited Cyprus.

At the same time, he said, the Cypriot government is committed to the principle that natural wealth belongs to the state and to all its legitimate citizens. “Towards this direction, we have proposed to the parliament a bill that provides for the establishment of a state fund for the management of any future hydrocarbon reserves, safeguarding the interests of current and future generations of all Cypriots, based on the Norwegian model, as well as internationally recognised principles and best practices,” he said.

The former government spokesman  who took over the foreign ministry’s portfolio earlier in the week from Ioannis Kassoulides, said he has big shoes to fill as his predecessor has “set the bar very high”.

“My first goal is to ensure a continuity of all that has been achieved and which, unavoidably, in cooperation and in tandem with the actions of President Anastasiades, have upgraded the international standing of Cyprus but also its role within the EU and the wider Middle East region,” Christodoulides said.

He added that he is contemplating on drawing a road map in cooperation with his ministry to see this goal through.

Christodoulides will travel to Athens on Monday to brief, along with Greece’s Foreign Minister, Nicos Kotzias, the Greek parliament’s foreign affairs and defence committees on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem, Cyprus’ energy programme and Turkey’s actions in the Republic’s EEZ.


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